Great Escapes: Sharm El Sheikh is back, and Royal Caribbean just keeps getting bigger...
Stay tuned in travel with Pól Ó Conghaile's weekly column.
Sharm El Sheikh is back… again. After security threats saw its withdrawal from brochures this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs (www.dfa.ie/travel) has updated its travel advice to deem the Egyptian Red Sea resort safe provided holidaymakers "exercise a high degree of caution".
Thomson Holidays (www.thomsonholidays.ie) has been quick off the mark, re-introducing weekly flights from December 26 - with three-star all-inclusive packages (above, right) starting from €809pp in January.
After its troubles with terrorist incidents, shark attacks, outbreaks of food poisoning and ongoing political uncertainty, you'd be forgiven for thinking twice about a trip.
Whatever happens on the Red Sea shores, however, there's no denying the sensational sealife beneath the waves.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
Just when you think cruise ships can't get any wackier, along comes a launch to blow your mind all over again.
Royal Caribbean's three new Quantum class ships include skydiving simulators, a circus school and 'North Star' observation pod dangled 300-feet above sea level. 360-degree views of the ocean await passengers on Quantum of the Seas (due to launch this November), and Anthem of the Seas (above; sailing in Europe in 2015), with the third ship due in 2016.
DEALS, STEALS AND TIPS
BARGAIN: Trident Holiday Homes is knocking 50pc off its weekly rate for the last week of the school holidays. Locations all over Ireland are included, with prices starting from €387; www.tridentholidayhomes.ie
SPLASH: If ever there was a bucket-list destination, Bhutan (above) is it. Insight Vacations has an 11-day trip to the land where 'Gross National Happiness' is a government policy, with escorted tours and accommodation (but not flights) included from €3,065pp; www.insightvacations.com
STAYCATION: Carton House Hotel & Spa has just launched its autumn deals, with B&B plus dinner available from €119pps - including a €20 spa or golf credit; www.cartonhouse.com