Travel News of the Week

Theme Park News


Walt Disney World


Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Grand Opening at EPCOT Set is for Oct. 1, 2021, in Honor of Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary.


In this delicious new attraction, guests will feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of Chef Remy as they scurry through Gusteau’s famous restaurant on a wild adventure for the whole family (no height requirement!). Based on Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning “Ratatouille,” the experience will be part of a newly expanded France pavilion inside EPCOT that will also open Oct. 1. When rounding the corner into this new portion of the pavilion, guests will be transported into a fanciful version of Paris that feels straight out of the animated film.


Also opening Oct. 1 will be La Crêperie de Paris, a new restaurant offering both table- and quick-service options. The menu will feature sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes (naturally gluten friendly) and authentic French hard cider. The attraction, restaurant and pavilion expansion are all part of the historic transformation of EPCOT currently underway, celebrating how the impossible becomes possible through the power of imagination … and a little Disney magic. This amazing time in the park’s history has already brought us a reimagined main entrance with new entrance fountain, “The Soul of Jazz” exhibit and new films in three different pavilions, with much more on the way.


photo credit: Disney destinations

photo credit: Disney destinations


With school Spring Break periods occurring throughout March and April, Disney Park Pass reservations are no longer available on select days for the Walt Disney World theme parks. In particular, reservation availability at Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is limited during this time. As a reminder, capacity in the theme parks remains limited as part of ongoing health and safety measures. It is important to check current Disney Park Pass availability calendar prior to securing theme park tickets.

Disney MagicMobile service will be debuting soon in the Walt Disney World Resort. Launching in phases starting later this year, Disney MagicMobile service is a convenient and contactless way to access MagicBand features like theme park entry through the power of an iPhone, Apple Watch or other smart device. Guests will be able to create a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app and add it to their smart device’s digital wallet. It works like magic – most features will be available by just holding up your smart device near an access point, just like you do with a MagicBand. Disney MagicMobile service and its features will roll out first on Apple devices.


Guests may choose to use Disney MagicMobile service or a MagicBand and pick whichever option works best during their visit. They can even use both and alternate between the two for added flexibility. Disney will also soon be introducing more MagicBands in trendy new colors and fun designs featuring favorite Disney characters and stories.


The existing digital room key feature will continue to be available within the My Disney Experience app, which helps guests expedite their arrival by using online check-in service, going directly to their Disney Resort hotel room, and using their phone to unlock their door. Disney Resort hotel guests may also still pick up a Key to the World card at their convenience by visiting the front desk.



Disneyland Resort


In the wake of the news of California opening the door to theme parks reopening, the Disneyland Resort has made the following announcements.

  • As a result of the impact of COVID-19 on operations, FastPass and Disney MaxPass services are suspended for the time being and are not available for purchase or use. They will share future updates at a later date.

  • Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour offerings will be suspended upon reopening of our hotels and theme parks as we plan to manage capacity. They will share any updates on these offerings at a later date.

A reopening date has not been announced.


In the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort, guests can join in the Eggstravaganza, an egg-themed scavenger hunt taking place March 15 to April 18, 2021, while supplies last. Guests can pick up their game board and stickers for $7.99 (plus tax) at select merchandise locations, including the newly reopened WonderGround Gallery.


Then guests can search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters. They can record their discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the themed Eggstravaganza game board. Whether they choose to hunt for eggs or not, guests can return their game board to World of Disney or Disney’s Pin Traders to collect a special surprise – one of six collectible eggs!


Purchasing limits will apply, and game boards available while supplies last. Limit of 10 game boards per person. One surprise per game board. Game board redemption valid through April 18, 2021. The experience is subject to restrictions and may change or be cancelled without notice.


Universal Orlando Resort


Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval has been extended to April 11, 2021 due to popular demand. The event is included with your theme park ticket or annual pass.


It’s Mardi Gras served up a whole new way – an international food fest with cuisine inspired by Carnaval celebrations from around the world, entertainment and more. You’ll sample the flavors of Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Spain and other regions including, of course, New Orleans. Plus you’ll enjoy spectacular floats on display, street entertainment, beads and more. Experience the food and fun daily at Universal Studios Florida.


Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites has been temporarily closed since January 4, 2021. Universal Orlando Resort has decided to extend the closure until May 3, 2021. Guests with effected reservations will be contacted to modify their reservation to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.


In the World News



AMResorts


Dreams® Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa is undergoing an extensive renovation project in order to elevate the overall property experience and deliver the Dreams brand Unlimited-Luxury® signature concept that guests have come to know and expect. It will be reopening on August 5, 2021 with a debut of several new enhancements.


Sense of Arrival

  • Completely renovated elegant and welcoming lobby

  • New check-in desks providing a warm and friendly arrival and departure experience

Guest Rooms and Suites

  • Addition of 38 new swim-out suites

  • Fully renovated guest rooms and suites embracing all new décor, indoor and outdoor furniture, linens and accessories

  • Enhanced lighting and decoration in hallways

Dining Experiences

  • Brand new décor across all restaurants and bars

  • Completely renovated à la carte restaurants including Gohan, Seaside Grill, Oceana, El Patio and Portofino

  • Relocation and full renovation of Coco Café and the Gelato Factory

Spa and Fitness Center

  • Expanded, renovated Dreams Spa by Pevonia® featuring a beautiful new bridal suite

  • All new indoor and outdoor fitness center

  • Multi-purpose court added on the ground floor

Explorer’s Club and Core Zone Teen’s Club

  • Exciting new Kiddie Splash Zone

  • Renovated Explorer’s Club for Kids ages 3-12

  • New Outdoor Lounge Area and Core Zone Teen’s Club

Swimming Pools

  • All swimming pools and hot tubs will be updated with new tile covering

Destination Weddings and Events

  • New oceanfront terrace designed to host weddings and events

  • Extension and remodeling of the ocean view Playa meeting space

photo credit: Dreams Resorts

Playa Hotels & Resorts


Playa Hotels & Resorts and Hilton will be operating a new boutique all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, The Yucatan Resort Playa del Carmen, part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, was formerly Live Aqua Playa del Carmen.


The adult-only property will open in May 2021 with 60 guestrooms, a restaurant, a sushi bar, a rooftop pool and bar, a spa and a fitness center. This property is located just minutes from the beach on Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, which is well known for its high-end restaurants, luxury boutiques and well-known resorts. The Yucatan Resort Playa del Carmen will participate in Hilton Honors


New York


Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York's quarantine requirements for domestic travelers will end on April 1. New York currently requires most travelers from noncontiguous states to quarantine upon arrival for either 10 days or until having a negative Covid-19 test taken prior to arrival into New York and again on the fourth day after arrival. As of April 1st, that will no longer be a requirement, though the state's Department of Health still is recommending it as a precaution.


New York is maintaining quarantine requirements for international arrivals. Both domestic and international travelers still will be required to fill out a traveler health form upon arrival to the state as well.

Cruise News


Princess Cruise


Princess continues to work with government and port authorities to finalize their plan for their return to cruising so they are extending their pause of cruise vacations sailing the Caribbean, California Coast, Mexico and the Mediterranean through June 30, 2021.


Cruises affected by this pause in operation include these sailings:

  • Caribbean Princess® – 7-day Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises

  • Enchanted Princess® – 7-day Mediterranean & Adriatic, 7-day Western Mediterranean, and 14-day Western Mediterranean & Adriatic Medley

  • Ruby Princess® – 7-day Classic California Coast, 7-day Mexican Riviera, and 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaway sailings

All guests, whether paid in full or partially paid, will have an opportunity to choose from the options detailed below for how they would like to handle their 2021 booking. The deadline for selecting an option is April 15, 2021. After that time, all bookings that have not chosen an option will automatically receive the Future Cruise Credit (FCC) option


Here are the options:

  1. Transfer to equivalent cruise in 2022: Guest can elect to have their booking transferred to the same cruise next year in 2022 with the added benefit of price protection, since they will maintain the 2021 price. This option is available whether a guest has already paid in full or is just deposited for their booking.

  2. Future Cruise Credit (FCC): Guest can choose to accept a FCC equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10% of the cruise fare paid (minimum $25 USD). FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022.

  3. Refund: Guest can choose to receive a refund of monies paid toward the booking to the original form of payment.

We recommend that you contact your travel advisor to help you with your affected sailing.

Celebrity Cruises


Celebrity Cruises sent out a recent statement regarding upcoming scheduled cruises, "As the world continues to work towards a new normal, our primary goal continues to be a healthy return to service for our guests, crew and the communities we visit. While working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other local health and government authorities towards this shared goal, we are evaluating all current itineraries to ensure compliance with the new Conditional Sail Order. Celebrity Cruises will now be suspending global operations for all sailings departing on or before May 31, 2021.


Celebrity cruises is offering impacted guests a choice of either a 100% refund or a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125%.


Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines


Royal Caribbean has updated their suspension of sailing. In order to allow additional time for return to service preparations, they have decided to extend their sailing suspensions for the majority of their fleet through the end of May 2021 (excluding sailings onboard Quantum, Spectrum, Voyager, and Odyssey of the Seas).


Their plan is to resume operations for most of their fleet on June 1st, 2021, and they further stated "...our primary goal continues to be a seamless and healthy return to service. We've teamed up and have assembled the "Healthy Sail Panel" - a multifaceted team of globally recognized experts - who are working closely with governments and leading health authorities worldwide to pioneer innovative ways to guide the cruise industry's path forward in response to the pandemic."


photo credit: Royal Caribbean


Holland America Line


All European cruise operations with the Holland America Line have been suspended until June 30, 2021. The pause will impact cruises departing in May and June on Nieuw Statendam, Volendam and Westerdam, along with the Collectors’ Voyages associated with those canceled cruises. Collectors’ Voyages combine nonrepeating itineraries for an extended, back-to-back cruise experience.


Guests currently booked on the canceled Europe departures will be able to rebook on an equivalent cruise in 2022 at the 2021 fare – with all cash and Future Cruise Credit funds moved to the new booking. Guests should confirm their selection of 2021 to 2022 replacement voyages through the Cancellation Preferences Form no later than April 15, 2021.


If guests decide not to accept a cruise booking in 2022 by April 15, 2021, they automatically default to receive a Future Cruise Credit of 110% of any cash paid on the booking. The minimum FCC is $25 and the maximum will be an amount up to the base cruise fare paid. Guests will retain any other FCC used for the canceled 2021 booking with all FCC amounts moved to their loyalty account for use on a future cruise booking. For all bookings in 2022, standard cancellation policies apply.


Guests who prefer a 100% refund of monies paid to Holland America Line can visit the Cancellation Preferences Form to indicate their preference no later than April 15, 2021.

The FCC is valid for sailings departing through Dec. 31, 2022. Noncruise fare purchases — shore excursions, airfare, gifts, dining and spa — will be transferred to a new booking if possible or automatically refunded via the method of payment used to purchase the services.

Cunard


Cunard is extending their pause in operations and changes to balance due dates.


Sailings on Queen Victoria® are now canceled for departures up to and including August 27, 2021. With many of Queen Elizabeth’s® summer itineraries also visiting international ports, and with cruises departing outside of the UK being unlikely for some time further, they are canceling Queen Elizabeth’s summer Mediterranean season and all departures up to and including October 11, 2021.


For Queen Mary 2®, there are a number of factors affecting her current program and after careful consideration they are canceling all departures up to and including November 12, 2021.


To provide even greater flexibility and allow more time for guests to decide on their vacation plans, Cunard has made the decision to relax their balance due payments terms on all cruises booked, departing up to and including October 1, 2021, to 30 days prior to departure, meaning guests now have a little more time before they have to pay their final balance.


All affected guests with a retail fare booking will receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 125%. The 125% FCC will be for the value of either the monies paid to date (typically the deposit) or the full booking value if the final balance has been paid. The FCC can be redeemed against any new booking made by December 31, 2021, on any voyage that’s on sale at the time of booking, including new 2023 voyages.


Clients who would prefer a 100% cash refund should fill out the online form. Clients opting for a refund have until April 30, 2021 to submit their request. Refunds will be issued back to the credit card used to pay if the client paid Cunard directly. Due to the extraordinary circumstances associated with Covid-19 and the associated impact on their wider business, refunds may take time to process.

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