Costume cruise Cosplay fans are invited to join the Singapore Cosplay Club's upcoming cruise, called Cosfest Sea: The Rising Tide. Apparently rather more modest in their sartorial mimicry of various manga, anime, video game and other cult characters than their counterparts in Japan and elsewhere, the Singapore group promises three days of non-stop partying. Cosplayers from Japan, South Korea and China will also be facing off in the main event, the Asia Cosplay Meet Championships. Departing Singapore for Port Klang, near Kuala Lumpur, on January 8 and returning on January 11, the cruise takes place aboard the Mariner of the Seas (above right). That was the first ship to use the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, in June 2013, so regular passengers might be in for a surprise. Tickets can be booked at www.sgcosplayclub.org and prices start from S$460 (HK$2,500), which includes full board and access to all cosplay activities.
The long haul Emirates will take over the dubious honour of operating the world's longest non-stop scheduled flight from February 1, when it launches a daily service from Dubai to Panama. Until then, the longest flight is operated by Qantas, and takes just under 17 hours to fly from Sydney to Dallas. The Dubai to Panama flight is scheduled to take 17 hours and 35 minutes, on a Boeing 777-200LR. Courageous souls who would like to add this flight to their list of travelling achievements can learn more about Panama, its canal and other attractions at www.visitpanama.com, which is due to be up and running this Thursday if the countdown clock on the holding page is accurate. The most up-to-date guide by the time Emirates touches down will be Fodor's In Focus Panama, which will be released for Kindle in February.
The jet set Aman Resorts has just announced that it will be connecting some of its upmarket properties in Asia with new Aman Private Jet Journeys starting in March. The first excursion departs on March 5 and takes a maximum of 12 guests across mainland China, from Beijing's Aman Summer Palace (below) to the new Amandayan, in Lijiang, Yunnan province, and then on to Amanfayun, in Hangzhou. At the time of writing, Aman had yet to upload any details to its recently redesigned website (www.aman.com), but upmarket travel agent Remote Lands is already operating separate Aman private jet tours, the first of which is currently under way across Asia. Its website (www.remotelands.com) should give you an idea of what to expect, and how much you can look forward to paying.
Imperial saga The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year - quite an achievement for a hotel that only opened in 1970. The first Imperial Hotel was built in 1890, but it burned down and was replaced by a new property designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923. In the 1960s, the beautiful but decaying hotel was demolished, though part of it, including Wright's main façade, central lobby and reflecting pool were relocated to the Meiji-mura museum in Nagoya, where they can still be admired. The current hotel was opened in March 1970, but celebrations of the 125th anniversary begin on November 3 - the 125th anniversary of the long-forgotten original hotel - with a public lobby performance of classical Noh court music given by two living national treasures, drummer Shonosuke Okura and flautist Yukihiro Isso. Much of the hotel has also been renovated for the occasion.
Deal of the week Farrington American Express Travel is selling a two-night package to Seoul that comes with a choice of several hotels for under HK$3,000. These include the Ramada Encore Seoul Dongdaemun (from HK$2,650) and the Ibis Budget Ambassador Dongdaemun (from HK$2,690). More expensive offerings, though probably worth the extra, include the Millennium Seoul Hilton (below; from HK$3,750) and the Ritz-Carlton (from HK$3,890). These prices, quoted per person, twin share, will be available until December and include flights with Cathay Pacific. For more details and reservations, go to www.amextravel.com.hk.