The CDC has finally announced the second phase of its Conditional Sail Order, which was first implemented in October, for Cruise Industry and the future return to sailing. The cruise lines have been eagerly waiting for further advisement on the CDC's expectations for cruise lines to safely begin sailing once again.
This second phase establishes parameters for agreements between cruise lines and the ports where they intend on operating, and it provides technical instructions for future sailings.
Increasing the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses from weekly to daily.
Updating criteria for the COVID-19 Color-coding System for Cruise Ships to direct preventive measures for crew. Ships will be classified from Green (which has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness for 14 days), to yellow, to orange, to red status having the most strict protocols.
Implementing routine testing of all crew, based on each ship’s color status.
Shortening the length of time required for a ship in red status to go to green status from 28 to 14 days, based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
Creating planning materials for agreements with ports and approvals from local health authorities to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage a COVID-19 outbreak aboard their ships, including the necessary healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected persons and quarantine those with exposure.
Establishing a plan and timeline for the vaccination of crew and port personnel.
The CDC informed that the next phase 2B will include simulated voyages with volunteer passengers to test the new COVID-19 protocols prior to conducting real-world sailings. There is no announcement as to when the next phase will begin.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian has established a new program, Norwegian Cruise Line Sail Safe™ Health and Safety Program, to protect guests, crew and communities they visit around the world. They have developed a robust and comprehensive health and safety strategy with new and enhanced protocols to create multiple layers of protection against COVID-19.
As part of this commitment, they are announcing that their voyages, with embarkation dates through and including October 31, 2021 will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew, combined with preventative health and safety measures which will provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience. Their science-backed plan for a safe and healthy return to cruising was developed in conjunction with a diverse group of globally recognized experts and will be continuously evaluated using the latest science and technology.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line is offering special "Disney Magic at Sea" sailing exclusively for United Kingdom residents for a limited time from U.K. ports. The Disney Magic will be sailing two, three, and limited four nights sailings round trip from London Tilbury, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Southampton. They will be implementing multiple layers of health and safety measures including Covid-19 testing, health screenings, facial coverings, physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, and reduced guest capacity on board.
Guests will discover a brand-new, close-to-home sailing experience with imaginative kids’ activities, fun family entertainment and exclusive adult recreation. They can have special moments with Disney characters, heroic encounters with Marvel heroes, and royal festivities with Anna, Elsa and Olaf. Disney stories will come to life on stage with spectacular entertainment, including a pre-show celebration with Mickey. They can savor diverse global cuisines inside themed restaurants with unique entertainment. There will be unique recreational offerings for adults and thrilling entertainment for the entire family.
Thomas Mazloum, president of Disney Cruise Line said, “Our teams are bringing tremendous ingenuity and fun to these new cruises, tailoring them with care to the times we are living in, yet filling them with everything you’d expect from Disney, from great service and entertainment to immersive dining experiences and magic for the whole family.”
Disney Magic at Sea Staycation sailings are expected to go on sale in April 2021 for sailings this summer, pending the issuance of U.K. government guidelines and authorizations.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has welcomed the newest member of their fleet. The Odyssey of the Seas completed construction on March 31st and became the 25th vessel in the fleet. In the delivery ceremony shown on Royal Caribbean International's Facebook page, Royal Caribbean accepted the ship from Meyer Werft Yard in Papenburg, Germany.
Odyssey of the Seas will debut from first-time homeport Haifa, Israel, in May 2021 and Fort Lauderdale in November.
Celebrity Apex, will debut with seven-night, roundtrip departures from Athens on June 19, will stop at Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini in Greece, and also Limassol, Cyprus and Haifa, Israel. Shore excursions will be offered, including one to Jerusalem during the Haifa stop, and guests will also be allowed to disembark unescorted.
By mid-May, Greece is planning to be fully open to international visitors. Celebrity is welcoming Americans over 18 who have been vaccinated and minors with negative Covid tests on board. The crew will be fully vaccinated, as well.
Theme Park News
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood will reopen on April 16th following the Taste of Universal, a separately ticketed, limited time event. Tickets will be on sale to CA residents only beginning on April 8th and attendance will be limited in accordance with government guidelines. Universal CityWalk and the Universal Cinema are open.
At this time, theme park visits are limited to California residents and party size is limited to a maximum of three households and ten people.
While most rides will be operational, some rides, attractions and shows will reopen at a later date as the theme park complies with government restrictions. Universal Studios Hollywood continues to work in partnership with health and government officials to implement new health and safety procedures that include physical distancing, required face coverings, and significant limits on in-park capacity.
Pass Members will be among the first to visit with a series of complimentary Bonus Days on select days from Thursday, April 15 (a special Pass Member Preview day!) through Sunday, May 16. These Bonus Days can be reserved online starting on Monday, April 5th. Pass Members will be able to resume regular use of their passes starting on Monday, May 17.
Due to capacity limits, until further notice, guests who purchased tickets prior to April 8, 2021 will need to make an advance reservation for their visit dates. Reservations can be made online starting on Monday, April 5.
Walt Disney World
From April 12 through May 2021, the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool waterslide and water play area in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be closed for refurbishment. During this time, the Meadow Swimming Pool, Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool and other outdoor recreational activities will remain available. Before long, the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool waterslide and water play area will be back to offer their 67-foot-long corkscrew slide and space for little ones to make a splash.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will begin on July 15th. This year’s event will kick off with global Marketplaces, including the return of many favorites – Canada, Greece, Germany, Hops and Barley, Appleseed Orchard, and others. Even more marketplaces will join the international smorgasbord as the festival continues on into the fall before wrapping on November 20, 2021.
Some of the early details were released for guests to enjoy:
Sample all sorts of delicious cheeses served in fun ways as part of Emile’s Fromage Montage – if guests collect a stamp from five different Global Marketplaces, they’ll earn a prize!
Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak will send guests on a savory scavenger hunt in search of Remy statuettes hidden all over the park.
Take a tasty souvenir home from the new merchandise collections, including a festival collection featuring a spirit jersey, baseball cap and so much more.
Listen to musical favorites performed by Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre and the Jammin’ Chefs.
As Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are preparing for their reopening on April 30th, after being closed for more than a year, the Disneyland Resort has released some details related to the guidelines for purchasing tickets to theme parks per the State of California.
Per the state guidelines, the name and contact information of each person who purchases a ticket to the parks should be collected for contact tracing purposes. This information must be provided by the ticket purchaser, who will serve as the main contact on behalf of his/her entire party. In addition, at the time a guest purchases park tickets and makes a park reservation, the purchasing guest must confirm that the guest’s party size will not contain more than 3 households and that the guest, and all members of the guest’s party, are California residents, since the guidelines limit theme park attendance to in-state visitors only. Attendance will be limited to 15% at reopening.
As the reopening date approaches, Disneyland Resort will be releasing more information to update guests.
In the World News
The CDC has issued guidelines for travelers who have been vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States:
Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel unless their destination requires it
Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine
For international travel, travelers fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:
Should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel.
Do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
Do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
Travelers arriving in the U.S. will still be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before they board their flight and another three to five days after returning.
CDC Domestic Travel Recommendations Quick Reference
CDC International Travel Recommendations Quick Reference
Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa in St. George's has reopened as of March 31st. Sandals Grenada is a truly exotic paradise known for its pristine beach, unique rooms and suites, and exceptional service. From pools in the sky and living rooms in swimming pools, to private plunge pools, cascading waterfalls and meandering river pools, Sandals Grenada defies every convention of traditional design. Enjoy fine dining at 10 restaurants, unlimited premium liquors, and every land and water sport under the sun.
To travel to Grenada, visitors must have a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR swab test within 72 hours of travel date as well as complete an online Pure Safe Travel Certificate Form. The Certificate, proof of a negative Covid test, and proof of travel insurance must be presented upon arrival in Grenada. Upon arrival at the resort, guests will take a rapid antigen test administered by medical professionals, which is free of charge. After receiving results within 15 minutes, guests with negative results will be allowed to use all facilities. Depending on length of stay, guests will be expected to have additional Covid testing.
Sandals has extended their Travel Protection Plan for all reservations made now through August 31, 2021 for travel until December 31, 2022 for any of their resorts, so you can travel with the peace of mind of knowing that you will automatically receive insurance coverage for medical expenses during your resort stay as well as several benefits while you're away.
photo credit: Sandals
Travelers may once again enter Peru as the mandatory quarantine has been suspended. To visit the country, travelers must have a negative molecular (PCR) COVID-19 test result to enter, and upon arrival in Peru, visitors will take a rapid antigen test. Peru borders remain open for countries with up to 12 hours flights, with the exception of flights coming from United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil due to the new COVID-19 variants.
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu has also reopened to visitors but at a 40 percent capacity, allowing up to 897 people a day to visit. Anyone visiting this famous site must comply with the health protocols, which include the correct use of face masks, physical distancing and limiting person-to-person and group-to-group contact. The archeological parks included in the Cusco tourist ticket will reopen to tourists as well, and at the same capacity limit of 40 percent.
Hawaiian vacations are available for 2022 reservations at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa and are available to book through Walt Disney Travel Company. However, reservations may only be booked 499 days prior to check in.
Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney has made an update to their temporary suspensions. They are continuing to assess future travel operations on a destination-by-destination basis. As they work towards resuming operations, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend all upcoming departures through Friday, April 30, 2021, with the exception of the Costa Rica Adventure on April 10, 2021.
In a virtual press conference, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said that his state is "the safest state in the country and quite frankly might be the safest locale in the world at this stage of the game." Dunleavey went on to say, "we want to make sure the world knows that we are a safe state and that Alaska is open for business."
With large cruise ship unable to sail to Alaska at this time, this may be the best time to visit the beautiful state since small towns won't be filled with tourists.
Photo credit: Juno Kim | Visit Anchorage
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
Iberostar Paraiso Beach and Iberostar Paraiso del Mar have recently reopened after being closed due to Covid-19. Located in the heart of Riviera Maya, Iberostar Paraiso Beach and del Mar have everything ready to welcome guests to this sunny paradise.
With the highest standards of care and safety, families can truly disconnect and take advantage of what these luxury, all-inclusive resorts offer. Guests can enjoy All-inclusive amenities, world-renowned gastronomy, Star Camp kids club, and access to the Paraiso complex golf course and spa, for an additional cost.