Etihad Airways


Top Holiday Destinations in 2017


Dublin airport has just celebrated it’s best ever year in 2016 and there are lots of new routes announced from Dublin, Cork and Shannon. It seems Irish airports are set for another bumper year.  So where are the top holiday destinations in 2017?

It looks like firm favourites, Spain and Portugal will remain the most popular short haul holiday destinations. Every other month we are hearing about new routes to the USA so American holidays will probably be the next biggest crowd pleaser. Short break enthusiasts will welcome the 9 weekly flights to Iceland and if you haven’t visited Athens or Amsterdam yet, 2017 might well be the year to do it. Cruise holidays are gearing up for another year of growth and the 14 weekly flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as the new daily Qatar airways service from Dublin to Doha, ensures long haul holidays will be easily accessible. Here are my picks for holiday hot spots in 2017!


Ireland’s favourite holiday destination never disappoints. Culture vultures or party animals enjoy the numerous choices for city breaks and beach holidays. Why not combine both though? The Costa Dorada looks like it could be the big winner this year. There are flights from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock serving Reus, Girona or Barcelona and Sunway and Falcon Holidays both offer package deals to Salou and Cambrils. The combination of the iconic city of Barcelona and the opening of Ferrari World at the already popular Port Aventura theme park, make it an ideal choice for all the family.

Top holiday destinations in 2017


Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost fifty flights per week from Irish airports, in the peak Summer months. Aer Lingus have added a new service to Porto, and Lisbon is already a popular city break destination. It looks like lots Irish holiday makers will be flocking to Portugal in their droves in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017


Lakes, mountains, cities and beaches, Italy has something to offer all holiday makers. Lake Garda is becoming more and more popular with families as there are numerous self catering and camping options. The Amalfi Coast is always a popular honeymoon destination and the islands will attract couples looking for an upmarket holiday. Sunway have introduced a direct flight to Sardinia for 2017 which should keep the beach enthusiasts happy, and the growing trend for authentic experiences will ensure that Irish numbers to the region of Puglia should continue to grow.

Top holiday destinations in 2017


Always great value for money and appealing to the masses, the Greek islands should have many Irish visitors in 2017. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos with Falcon Holidays and flights to Athens with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aegean airlines. This should ensure Athens will be a popular city break destination but also allow easier access to the sought after islands of Santorini and Mykonos.

Top holiday destinations in 2017


Flights to the States have grown to unprecedented levels. New routes to from Aer Lingus to Hartford and Miami and extra flights to Los Angeles, Orlando and New York, should translate into a bumper year for Irish tourists to the USA. The addition of low cost flights with Norwegian Air from Cork to Boston and New York, as well as WOW air flights via Iceland, should ensure lots of good deals for Irish holidaymakers. San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic ‘summer of love’ with a year of events and festivals in 2017. And would you believe Elvis is dead 40 years this year… sure makes me feel old! Why not pay tribute to the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ by visiting Memphis during ‘Elvis Week’, between 11th and 19th August. See American Sky for details.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Universal Studios


Mexico is one of our most popular long haul destinations. Falcon Holidays are offering direct flights from Dublin for those looking for a two week holiday in the summer months. Many choose to fly via America and combine with a city break in New York or Vegas. I think Mexico will continue to be as popular with Irish holidaymakers in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017


WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved to be a resounding success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. So much so that WOW have decided to increase flights from Dublin and add on a service from Cork. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2017 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Chase the Northern Lights in Iceland


One of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry is set for another bumper year. The competition has never been greater. Most major cruise lines have dedicated Irish websites now and many travel agents and tour operators have dedicated cruise departments. Free all inclusive drinks packages, half price kids offers and even free flights, will I am sure, entice Irish holidaymakers to cruise in 2017. New destinations like Cuba will make it easier for visitors to visit Havana without paying the increasing accommodation costs. River cruises are also proving popular for discerning clients. For those who don’t want to fly there are even cruises operating directly from Ireland in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
American cruise lines are now docking in Cuba.


For those looking for somewhere a little different but still close to home, Croatia will be a top choice. The stunning city of Dubrovnik has always been a favourite but now there are flights to Split and Pula with Aer Lingus, as well as Zadar with RyanairFalcon Holidays have also announced package holidays to Croatia and specialists Croatia Tours continue to offer a wide choice of package holidays to the region.

Top holiday destinations in 2017

Middle East and beyond

With two direct daily flights to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi and now a new daily service to Doha with Qatar airlines, getting to Asia, Africa and Australia has never been easier. No lengthy lay overs in Heathrow and prices should reduce too!

Top holiday destinations in 2017

South Africa

Ethiopian airlines‘ Dreamliner aircraft made many news reports when they offered cheap direct flights from Dublin to Los Angeles this year. They have now added extra connections from their hub in Addis Ababa to South Africa. This means that flights from Dublin to Cape Town should be easily accessible and hopefully well priced too.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
South African safari

They are my thoughts on the top holiday destinations in 2017 but please comment below if you have any more to add 🙂



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FeaturedLong HaulRest of the WorldTravel News and Reviews

Etihad Airways, Economy, Business and The Residence

Etihad Airways

I had the opportunity to review Etihad Airways award winning service at their innovative mobile exhibition in Croke Park recently.

There is nothing worse than finally nodding off to sleep only to be woken by a flight attendant asking if you want dinner. Etihad Airways novel eye masks which come with ‘do not disturb’ on one side and ‘wake me up to eat’ on the other are a simple yet very effective idea!

Their new economy smart seats also come with a headrest which acts as a shoulder to lean on. They offer adjustable back support and a generous 32-inch seat pitch. The 11 inch touch screen TV comes with hundreds of movies and there are plenty of connection ports to charge your portable devices.

The Travel Expert reviews Etihad Airways Economy, Business and The Residence

As a mum of two, I was listening attentively to the services provided by their flying nannies. All of Etihad Airways nannies were trained in Norland College (William and Kate’s nanny was trained there!). Kids receive a welcome back with colouring pencils, puzzles when they board, and during the flight, nannies will treat them to face painting and fun games while you get some chill time – nice for Mum and Dad!

The Travel Expert reviews Etihad Airways Economy, Business and The Residence

Their first and business class cabins vary depending on which aircraft type you are on. I would suggest to anyone who is travelling in these classes to check this before booking. Personally I thought the A380 first class cabins were superior, well at least more spacious than the Boeing 787 dreamliner aircraft. One thing that doesn’t change is the excellent service.  Etihad offer all day menus with boutique wine lists and award winning cuisine.  The A380 aircraft also has a lobby where you can have business meetings, socialise or watch a live sporting event on their widescreen.

The Travel Expert reviews Etihad Airways Economy, Business and The Residence

For most of us, travelling business class is not an option, unless you happen to be travelling for business. However, we all hope that at some stage in our lives, perhaps a special occasion, that we will get to experience it some day. The residence however, lets face it, unless you win the lotto or happen to be the next tech billionaire in the making, is only for the rich and famous.

$33k will get you a one way ticket from Abu Dhabi to New York and the residence, which incidentally holds three people. This three roomed, 126 square foot cabin consists of a spacious lounge with luxurious leather sofa ( the same leather that ferrai use), two dining tables and a 32 inch flat screen TV. The bathroom has a full height shower, bathrobes and a hairdryer. The bedroom has a 6ft 10 inch double bed covered with luxurious designer italian bed linen! You can enjoy breakfast in bed while watching the second 27 inch flat screen TV!

The Travel Expert reviews Etihad Airways Economy, Business and The Residence

If you are forking out that kind of money I’m guessing you will have a few demands! No need to worry – Etihad will have them covered! You will have a private lounge in the airport where you can complete any pre clearance necessary. You can decide if you want to board and disembark first or last, get your suitcase packed and unpacked and even have a turndown service before bed! Your Savoy trained private butler is almost like a concierge in a deluxe hotel, he will get tickets to sold out shows and organise dinner reservations from the air. Before you board you will receive a phone call from your butler asking what type of flowers you would like in the lounge and if you have any special food requests – beluga caviar perhaps? Incidentally you can enjoy your bespoke menu with their 24 carat gold plated Christian Lacroix cutlery!

The Travel Expert reviews Etihad Airways Economy, Business and The Residence

I had seen the Nicola Kidman advert and thought it looked impressive then, but seeing it first hand and meeting Michael, our butler, took it to another level. Did I mention the mobile exhibition is actually 20% smaller than what is on board? The attention to detail is incredible and is something that must be almost impossible to replicate, even in some of the best hotels in the world. At $33k a pop it’s unlikely I will ever get to actually fly in it, but I can always dream…


For more details visit or your local travel agent.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

DestinationsFeaturedHoneymoonersLong HaulRest of the World

Is this the ultimate honeymoon?

Kandolhu 1217

Imagine the anticipation of waiting for your chauffeur driven limousine to pull up outside your home. Your journey starts here…

Arrive at the airport in style and go straight to the business class desk for a speedy check in. Enjoy a glass of bubbly in the Etihad lounge before boarding your business class flight to your ultimate paradise island. Sample drinks of your choice and some fine dining on board, before drifting off to sleep on the Etihad Airways lie flat beds.

Kandolhu, Maldives, The ultimate honeymoon by The Travel ExpertArrive thoroughly refreshed only to board a sea plane for the final hop across the Indian Ocean. After a short 25 minute flight you will arrive at the five star luxury Kandolhu Island in the Maldives. The island is 200 metres long by 150 metres wide and has only 30 villas.  It is the guardian to one of the most pristine and colourful reefs in the Maldives. The beach, one of dust like pure white sand, is exactly what comes to ones imagination when ‘paradise’ is mentioned.

You will be staying in one of only seven ocean pool villas. Facing the sunset, these villas serve only to enhance the experience at Kandolhu. Each villa is reached by its own private walkway and on entering the oversized bedroom, you’ll notice the large bed, daybed and walk-in wardrobe. The bathroom is open with a shower, bathtub and opens out onto the pool deck. Complete with sunloungers, sun umbrella and a plunge pool with panoramic views of the ocean. Suffice to say; You. Have. Arrived.

So we are familiar with the concept of ‘all inclusive’, but Kandolhu Island brings that concept to a whole new level. Here you will have the choice of dining in four a la carte restaurants. You have your own wine cooler in your room, stocked with 30 bottles of premium wine. There is an unspoken challenge to get through as many as you can, as you sit and watch the sunset beyond the horizon each evening. So is this the ultimate honeymoon destination? Well, its got to be up there with the best, and once you consider the ‘ultimate inclusions’ option, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a great deal to Dubai

After relaxing for seven nights on this wonderful island, being spoilt by the service, and slowing down the pace of life to a crawl, what next? It has to be the glitz, the glamour and all the excess on offer in Dubai. Shop till you drop in the biggest malls in the world and marvel at the view from the world’s tallest building. You can ski, surf, or safari (in the desert at least!)  – what ever you want to do, you will probably find it in Dubai. Spend five nights in a deluxe room at the stunning Atlantis Palm Hotel (airport transfers by limo of course). Enjoy breakfast and evening meal each day and if you are feeling adventurous, access to their waterpark throughout your stay. You will also have afternoon tea in the world’s only seven star hotel, the Burj al Arab. I have done this and, believe me, it’s worth it just to see the glorious excess that is seven star.

Don’t worry though if you are feeling tired after all that action in Dubai, you can chill out and relax on your return business class flight. And just to complete the ultimate honeymoon, your chauffeur will be waiting for you in Dublin airport to bring you home – and back to the reality! So forget about the chocolate fountains and the candy carts, nobody will remember them anyway.  As for the honeymoon, well, it is a trip of a lifetime….


See for more details.



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