Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International said it would start sailing out of Bermuda in June on Vision of the Seas. The new seven-night cruises will also feature a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay and an overnight in Bermuda.
The new 2021 summer itineraries, available June through August, from Bermuda will open for bookings on Monday, March 29 and begin departing on June 26. All crew will be vaccinated, and the cruises only be available to adult guests who are fully vaccinated and those under the age of 18 with negative test results.
“We are thankful to the government and people of Bermuda for welcoming us to their beautiful island nation with open arms as Vision of the Seas’ new homeport,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “This is another step in our safe and measured return to sailing beginning in June. Travelers are eager to venture out gradually and start cruising again. By adding a second unique option to sail the Caribbean from a destination as rich and vibrant as Bermuda, we’re offering guests a choice in how they can enjoy their well-deserved vacations this summer.”
While Vision of the Seas will be docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard, guests will have the opportunity to stay in Bermuda before and after the cruise. Island hotels and resorts are open for guests to visit.
“Bermuda has safely and responsibly managed the reopening of its tourism economy by air, and we will meet the challenge of doing the same for the cruise industry,” said Bermuda Premier E. David Burt. “We look forward to homeporting Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas this June as part of the island’s strategic tourism recovery planning which, as always, is guided by science.”
Guests will have the chance to visit Royal Caribbean’s Bahamian private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. The island is filled with thrills and chills. Attractions range from 13 waterslides at Thrill Waterpark, including Daredevil's Peak which is the tallest waterslide in North America, Oasis Lagoon which is the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, Up, Up & Away, the helium balloon that floats up to 450 feet in the air, and the first floating cabanas in The Bahamas at Coco Beach Club.
Vision of the Seas
photo credit: Royal Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian announced the cancellation of select Norwegian Encore, Jewel, Jade, Gem, and Joy sailings. This was a necessary step as they work to toward a revised fleet deployment schedule.
Impacted ships and sailings:
Norwegian Encore: all embarkation dates from July 4, 2021 through and including October 28, 2021
Norwegian Jewel: all embarkation dates from July 5, 2021 through and including October 6, 2021
Norwegian Jade: all embarkation dates from July 4, 2021 through and including November 4, 2021
Norwegian Joy: all embarkation dates from July 1, 2021 through and including October 9, 2021
Norwegian Gem: all embarkation dates from July 1, 2021 through and including October 22, 2021
Although these cancellations are the result of fleet redeployment and not a sailing suspension, all impacted guests will receive a full refund of the fare paid, which will be automatically returned to the form of payment provided at the time of reservation. In addition, they have issued a 10% discount in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. This credit can be used for up to one year from date of issue and can be applied towards any of their published sailings through December 31, 2022.
In the World News
AMResorts® is pleased to take this opportunity to announce the groundbreaking of Dreams® Estrella del Mar Mazatlán, a resort located within Estrella del Mar, a private gated golf & residential community stretching over 900 acres, with 3.5 miles of secluded beachfront and 5.5 miles from Mazatlán’s International Airport. This development brings the first Dreams® Resorts & Spas branded property to the destination known as the “Pearl of the Pacific”.
As the largest port city in Mexico’s Pacific coast, Mazatlán is a renowned beach destination still ripe with opportunity for tourism. The Dreams Estrella del Mar Mazatlán development will have local and statewide economic impact and set Mazatlán center stage for future long-term hotel investments.
This Dreams resort will offer 350 beachfront suites, including 29-swim-out suites and a separate adults-only section, as well as various amenities including:
An elegant design with locally sourced materials, highlighting the natural beauty and vegetation of the site.
Various amenities located along a central pedestrian walkway, drawing from the historic center of Mazatlán as inspiration.
Five gourmet restaurants featuring diverse international cuisines.
Multiple pools, an aquatic park and a lazy river, all of which face the Pacific Ocean.
A theater and convention center for up to 700 people, overlooking the golf course.
An over 1,800 square foot state-of-the-art Spa and Wellness Center that incorporates elements of Dreams Estrella del Mar Mazatlán’s surroundings, including water elements, natural light, and treatment rooms with private terraces, inspiring a connection to nature.
The Spa and Wellness Center will also feature a hydrotherapy area with waterfalls, whirlpools, geysers, a panoramic sauna and a hammam, a treatment that uses hot steam to encourage a deep and invigorating cleanse.
The resort will be complemented with a spectacular 18-hole professional golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., which is considered one of the best and most beautiful golf courses in Mexico. The John Jacobs Golf School, also located in the gated community, offers personalized golf classes and clinics, equipment rental, a clubhouse with a pro-shop, a restaurant and a bar.
Upon opening, Dreams Estrella del Mar Mazatlán will be the 20th Dreams Resorts & Spas branded property in the AMResorts® portfolio.
Rendering of the first Dreams® Estrella del Mar Mazatlán, located in Estrella
del Mar Golf & Residential community on the Pacific Coast of Mexico
Globus Family of Brands
Globus family of brands, consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms has announced updates to their health and safety protocols.
Travelers are now required to offer Globus family of brands’ personnel one of the following printed and/or digital verifications upon arrival:
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel
Proof of a negative COVID-19 test (NAAT/PCR or antigen) result within 72-hours of travel
Proof of recovery from a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within three (3) months of travel
Without one of these verifications, travelers will not be able to join a planned vacation with Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways or Monograms.
In addition to unveiling new COVID-19 parameters required at the start of each vacation departure, the Globus family of brands announced that they will facilitate – and cover – additional COVID-19 testing, if required, for guests to return to their home country, as well as tests on trip if guests show symptoms.
These new protocols will take effect in April.
The Globus family of brands has shortened the final payment window for all brands to 45 days prior to departure.
“If our guests are unable to go on their vacation due to COVID-19 restrictions, our complimentary Peace of Mind Travel Plan gives them the flexibility to move their plans to any other 2021 or 2022 date, destination, itinerary or even, another brand in our vast travel portfolio, without penalty,” said Nisbet. “We’re offering travelers risk-free bookings.”
Delta Air Lines
In May, Delta Air Lines will offer nonstop connections from three U.S. hubs to Iceland, including a new daily service from Boston Logan International Airport to Keflavík International Airport on May 20th. The airline also will resume daily service from John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 1st and daily service from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on May 27th.
Iceland has become the first European country to re-open to U.S. leisure travel since the pandemic began. Iceland recently announced an exemption for fully vaccinated Americans from the ban on non-essential travel and other restrictions such as testing and quarantine requirements.
Passengers traveling to Iceland will be required to provide proof of full vaccination or recovery of COVID-19, and Travelers returning to the U.S. will still be required to have a negative COVID-19 test.
Theme Park News
Walt Disney World
Disney's Animal Kingdom will be celebrating Earth Month in April. Earth Day and Disney's Animal Kingdom's anniversary is April 22nd. From April 18 to 24, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host limited-time experiences including unique Disney character appearances, fun learning opportunities, specialty merchandise, themed food and beverage, a new Wilderness Explorer activity and more.
In The Animation Experience at Conservation Station, guests can learn to draw characters – including Dumbo, Terk, Squirt, Shere Khan, Simba and Scar – whose real-life counterparts represent amazing stories of conservation work around the globe.
Guests can catch a glimpse of some special characters who will join other favorite Disney pals on Discovery River Character Cruises.
Guests can nosh around the park sampling Earth Day eats, including a selection of limited-time specialty cupcakes: the Creature Comfort’s Honey Bee Cupcake, the strawberry-flavored Flamingo Cupcake at Flame Tree Barbecue, or the Sea Turtle Graham Cracker Cupcake (plus the Crave the Wave cocktail!) at Restaurantosaurus Lounge. These treats are only available for a limited time.
Guests can set out on a series of self-guided, nature-themed challenges and earn a special Wilderness Explorer limited-time Earth Day Nature badge.
Guests can hunt for an Earth Day 2021 limited-edition Te Fiti Moana trading pin. They can also support the Disney Conservation Fund by purchasing a cuddly plush inspired by species that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home; or check out Island Mercantile’s eco-friendly water bottles, tumblers and reusable bags that promote sustainability.
Disney PhotoPass Service captures magical memories with special in-park Earth Day backgrounds and Magic Shots, including an all-new photo opportunity. In addition, Earth Day screen savers and Zoom backgrounds can be downloaded from the My Disney Experience PhotoPass gallery.
Beginning April 2, Guests can watch as artisans transform 40 tons of sand into a detailed sculpture celebrating National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” an original series streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. The intricate sculpted masterpiece will be located on the Discovery Island Stage until April 30.
Walt Disney World is conducting an Optional Facial Recognition Technology Test between March 23 and April 23, 2021 in the Magic Kingdom.
With the future in mind and the shift in focus to more touchless experiences, they’re conducting a limited 30-day test using facial recognition technology (length of test is subject to change). Participation in this test is optional. The technology captures an image of a guest’s face and converts it into a unique number, which is then associated with the form of admission being used for park entry. For those interested in volunteering to participate in this effort, please make sure you arrive with valid theme park admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation.
Children under the age of 18 who wish to participate may do so with the consent and in the presence of a parent or guardian.
What to Expect:
Step 1: Enter the Facial Recognition Technology Test Lane - When you’re ready to enter the park, simply enter the lane designated for the test program.
Step 2: Remove Accessories, But Keep Your Face Covering in Place - Please take off any hats, visors or sunglasses before you approach the facial recognition test zone. Your face covering must remain on at all times.
Step 3: Face the Camera - Once in the facial recognition test zone, stand facing the camera and then position your valid park admission or MagicBand close to the scanner to activate the technology.
If you return to Magic Kingdom park during the limited-time test, consider entering using the same designated entry points. Re-entering through the same lanes helps them better understand how the technology works.
Images and the associated unique numbers captured for this technology test will be discarded within 30 days after the test concludes.
In continued preparation for the 50th anniversary, the Main Street Confectionary will be undergoing some transformation. This iconic location will soon receive a fresh new look, expanded layout with more room to shop and interactive opportunities for guests to customize their confections like never before.
To bring these concepts to life, both Main Street Confectionery and The Chapeau will close for refurbishment on March 29, 2021. Along with that, some of the merchandise and goodies will be shifting to other spots in the park. Many of the treats from Main Street Confectionery will be available at Emporium and Main Street Cinema during the closure. Favorite Disney hats and must-have Mickey Mouse ears will be just across the street at Box Office Gifts at the Town Square Theater. Finally, if guests are looking for collectibles and artwork, Bonjour! Village Gifts will be the new go-to spot.
Disneyland has released an update regarding theme park tickets. Unused non-promotional single day tickets that expire on December 30, 2021 or March 31, 2022 will have the expiration date extended to December 30, 2022. Wholly unused, non-promotional multi-day tickets that expire on January 12, 2022 or April 13, 2022 will have the expiration date extended to January 12, 2023, and the ticket will expire 13 days after first use or on January 12, 2023, whichever occurs first.
Guests with multi-day tickets who used their first visit between February 28, 2020 and March 13, 2020 but did not reach their ticket’s maximum number of uses, will have the 13-day expiration period of their ticket extended to December 30, 2022. Expiration dates on eligible ticket(s) will be updated prior to the theme parks’ reopening.
(Note - picture taken prior to Covid)