Travel News of the Week

In the World News


Mexico


Hyatt Ziva Resort is expected to debut in Riviera Cancun in 2021. Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Playa Hotels & Resorts announced plans for a new Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resort in Mexico’s Riviera Cancun region. Slated to open later this year, the family friendly Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun will be the latest resort to join the award-winning Hyatt Ziva portfolio, which is designed for travelers seeking an effortless, all-inclusive experience.


Situated between Playa del Carmen and the world-famous Cancun Hotel Zone approximately 30 minutes from Cancun International Airport, the 438-room Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun plans to provide travelers with the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, enjoy time away from their busy lives, and experience the most unique aspects of Riviera Cancun.


With a focus on travel experiences for all ages, Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun will offer a variety of amenities including several globally inspired and locally authentic restaurants; multiple swimming pools; the Zen Spa inspired by pre-Hispanic Mayan culture with 12 indoor and eight outdoor treatment rooms designed to reflect the stunning, natural scenery; a fitness center with state-of-the-art amenities; and ocean views of the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon of Bahia Petempich. Additionally, the property will offer more than 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space, ideal for weddings, anniversary celebrations and a variety of gatherings.


photo credit: Hyatt Media


Greece


Greece has lifted the quarantine restrictions for travelers coming from the U.S. as well as from most of Europe. It is preparing to reopen tourism in May even though they are still managing pandemic-related hospital care. Travelers arriving by air will no longer need to quarantine for seven days if they hold a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival. Tourists would be subject to domestic travel restrictions.


Hawaii


Governor Ige announced that beginning May 11, 2021, fully vaccinated passengers who are residents of Hawaii will be able to travel inter-island without being subject to quarantine and testing rules. Vaccinated travelers will be able to upload an image of their vaccination card to the Safe Travels Portal and then will be able to bypass the quarantine requirement. Only residents who has their final vaccination at least 14 days prior in Hawaii are eligible for this new exemption.


Las Vegas


Resorts World Las Vegas will be opening on June 24, 2021, and reservations are now open for booking. Resorts World consists of three Hilton properties: a 1,774-room Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel, a 1,496-room Conrad Hotels & Resorts property, and the 236-room Crockfords Las Vegas, which will be part of Hilton's LXR Hotels & Resorts portfolio.


The complex will feature a 117,000 square-foot casino, more than 40 food and beverage options, a 5.5-acre pool complex with seven different pools, and an entertainment venue with a capacity of 5,000 people.

Alaska


Governor Mike Dunleavy said that Alaska will be making Covid-19 vaccines available at Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan airports starting June 1, 2021. He said the vaccine opportunity is another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.


Heidi Hedberg, the state health department's Division of Public Health director, said the state will do a soft rollout of the vaccination program at the Anchorage airport in late April, and run the test for five days between 5pm and 2am. This test run will be for Alaskans traveling through the airport.


Alaska state leaders have been advocating to allow large cruise ships to once again return to Alaska as their businesses have been hit hard with the cut in tourism.


Although not required, travelers are recommended to still test for Covid-19 prior to visiting Alaska.


Alaska has joined Florida in suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Government ordering them to revoke the Conditional Sailing Order put forth on the cruise line industry. Alaska has claimed the loss in cruising tourism has cost them more than $3 billion. This is hurting the businesses and families in Alaska and continues to be a threat for this year.


But even if they are successful in the suit, there is still the hurdle of Canada's ban of cruise ships from its ports until February 2022. The Passenger Vessel Service Act prohibits the transportation of passengers between two different US ports on any vessel other than a US flag vessel. Most cruise ships sail under the flag of other countries and therefore have to have an international stop in between different US ports. So Alaskan sailings would typically begin from or include a stop in Vancouver for example. They would not be permitted to sail directly from San Diego or Seattle to Alaska.


France


President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to allow American tourists to have the opportunity to visit France as early as next month. Macron said, “we will progressively lift the restrictions as of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summertime with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens." He continued to say officials were “working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated.” The idea of a special pass for vaccinated travelers could be an option. Their intent is to control the virus, to maximize the vaccination, and to progressively lift the restrictions. Exact timelines have not been provided.


Curaçao


International travelers must complete a digital immigration card, a digital passenger locator card, proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival, and as of April 20, 2021, all travelers who have not been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the past six months and are departing from a high risk country are required to undergo a mandatory Antigen test on the 3rd day in Curaçao. It is the responsibility of the traveler to book the lab appointment for the Antigen test.


Children aged 6 and under who don’t show COVID-19 symptoms, and whose parents/ caretakers can show proof of a negative PCR test, are not required to undergo a PCR/Antigen test.


In the eventuality that traveler test positive in Curaçao, strict isolation measures will be implemented immediately. All lodging and possible medical expenses, including but not limited to PCR/Antigen tests, are for the expense of the traveler.


Anguilla


Due to a surge in Covid-19 cases (there were 30 as of April 20th), Anguilla has initiated a lockdown to visitors effective April 22nd. The airport on Anguilla and ferry services connecting Anguilla with St. Martin are closed to incoming travelers, although travelers already on Anguilla will be allowed to leave. Everyone on Anguilla is required to stay home with schools closed and public gatherings prohibited.

After the lockdown, Anguilla will be accepting applications of visitors from all countries who meet travel requirements. Applications may be completed online.


Anguilla has updated their entry requirements for travelers to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors. Fully vaccinated visitors, who have had the final dose administered at least three weeks (21 days) prior to arrival, will have their quarantine reduced from 14 days to seven days.

  • Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 14 days in approved accommodations.

  • All travelers will still be required to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 test 3 – 5 days prior to their arrival, be tested on arrival and at the end of the quarantine period.

  • Multi-generational families and/or groups with a mix of unvaccinated and vaccinated persons will all have to quarantine for a 10-day period, utilizing only approved short stay services.

  • The Entry Application Fee for fully vaccinated visitors staying under 90 days in a villa or hotel is $300 per individual, and $200 for each additional person.

  • The Entry Application Fee for unvaccinated returning residents or visitors who are staying in an approved private dwelling home is $600 per individual, and $200 for each additional person.


Effective May 1st, 2021:

  • All persons traveling in groups (i.e more than 10 persons) must be fully vaccinated to enter and attend or conduct any mass gatherings in Anguilla (e.g., weddings, conferences, etc.)

  • Spa, gym and cosmetology services will be allowed if both guests and staff therapists/consultants are fully vaccinated, i.e. three weeks have passed since the final dose of an approved vaccine.

  • All frontline hospitality workers, along with port and transportation staff are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination (first dose by May 1).

Starting on July 1st, Anguilla will remove the fee and quarantine requirements for visitors who are fully vaccinated. All visitors to Anguilla who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, are required to be fully vaccinated at least three weeks before arrival (i.e. persons 18 and older).


The entry protocols will be further revised in phases, leading to the elimination of all requirements by October 1st, 2021.


Jamaica


Sandals Resorts International, the Caribbean’s leading luxury all-inclusive resort company, will add three new hotels to its Jamaica roster.


According to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, Sandals Resorts will transform two all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica acquired last year - the former Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios and Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort & Waterpark plus a prime parcel of beachfront land adjacent to the Ocho Rios resort, into three distinct experiences under the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands.


Stewart said the new Sandals Dunn’s River will receive a top-to-bottom renovation with the adjacent ocean-front land transformed into an additional brand-new resort: Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, a modern luxurious escape featuring approximately 250 lavish rooms and suites. The sister hotels will operate very much like the concept SRI developed between Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados, offering generous exchange privileges between the two all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, giving guests tremendous and convenient dining and amenity options.


The Runaway Bay resort, a renowned Jamaican property hotel located midway between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, will also undergo extensive redevelopment to become Beaches Runaway Bay Resort, the third family-friendly Beaches Resort in Jamaica. At its completion, the hotel will feature an estimated 400 expansive one, two, three and four-bedroom suites, designed with extended families in mind. Guests of Beaches Runaway Bay also have access to Runaway Bay Golf Club and its par-72, 18-hole championship golf course.


photo credit: Sandals Resorts International


Puerto Rico


All travelers entering Puerto Rico must provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken with 72 hours of arrival, regardless of vaccination status and as well as obtain an Airport Exit Confirmation Number and QR code when uploading the PCR test result to the online portal.


As of April 28, 2021, any travelers arriving in Puerto Rico without a negative Covid-19 PCR test will be fined $300 and be required to take a molecular PCR test within 48 hours of arrival. The test result must be uploaded to the online portal at www.travelsafe.pr.gov within 48 hours and the fine will be dismissed if the results are negative, and the traveler will be able to visit the island. If test results are positive, the traveler must isolate and seek medical attention.


If when the visitor arrives they have not received the results from their test, that was taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, they will have up to 48 hours to upload the results. If the results are negative, the fine will be dismissed.


Puerto Rico still has an island-wide curfew from 10 pm to 5 am. The public beaches and natural reserves are open, and public alcohol consumption is prohibited. Businesses are operating at 30% capacity, which includes restaurants, casinos, museums and pools at hotels. Social distancing is expected at all locations.


Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is excluded from the CDC requirement to provide a negative Covid-19 test to enter or return to the mainland US.


Adventures by Disney


Adventures by Disney has made a temporary update to their Adventure Vacation Date Change Policy.


Guests currently booked on Adventures through July 31, 2021, can change their reservation and receive a 100% credit to be used toward a future Adventure. Guests may select an alternate Adventure or place their booking on a future hold date by contacting their travel agent. Guests will have until May 31, 2022, to select a new vacation and must travel by December 31, 2022. This future travel credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


Theme Park News


There is hope for some visitors hoping to go to California theme parks. Governor Newsom has announced an update for the Blueprint for a Safer Economy with guidelines which includes the possibility for out-of-state visitors to attend activities or events that are limited to California residents only.


The California Department of Public Health stated, “yes, the addendum to the Blueprint grid permits fully vaccinated people from out of state to participate in activities restricted to in-state visitors. This includes theme parks."


SeaWorld San Diego has updated their Covid-19 restrictions, "Per state COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is limited to California in-state visitors, and now out-of-state visitors will be required to show proof of a fully completed COVID-19 vaccine (you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second shot, or two weeks after the one-dose vaccine). Guests may also be asked to present proof of residency upon entry. Party sizes may not contain more than 3 households. To adhere to capacity guidelines, and for the health and safety of our animals, employees and guests, reservations and proper face coverings are required to enter the park."


Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood has not yet made any further announcements so at this time only California residents may visit those parks. We hope to have more information in the near future.


Walt Disney World


Disney's Animal Kingdom favorite production, Festival of the Lion King, has a reopening timeframe and some expected changes for the initial performances to allow for Covid-19 protocols. Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle announced on Instagram, "our cast is back in rehearsals for “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King,” preparing for the show’s mid-May debut as entertainment continues to return across Walt Disney World...."

Disney reported they are now accepting reservations for some of the Resort hotels which are pending opening:

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort for arrivals beginning May 30

  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn for arrivals beginning July 2

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for arrivals beginning June 6

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for arrivals beginning in late July

Future reopening dates of Disney Resort hotels are subject to change and guests’ reservations could still be modified to other Disney Resort hotels.


SeaWorld Orlando


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at SeaWorld Orlando for the first two weekends in May: Friday - Sunday April 30th through May 2nd, and May 7th through 9th, as well as May 5th of course.

  • FIESTA IN THE STREET – The Wild Arctic Plaza comes to life as entertainers, stilt walkers, and party starters get this full-blown fiesta going. 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

  • DJ DANCE PARTY – Get your feet moving at this fun-filled party (with physical distancing) as we spin new and old beats throughout the day. 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

  • LIVE MUSIC – Immerse yourself in the traditional music of Mexico as classic bands bring their beautiful and bold sounds to Orlando. 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

  • MEXICAN FLAVORS – Savor new and classic tastes as part of our Seven Seas Food Festival including our take on a classic Elote dish, drunken shrimp tostadas, beef barbacoa tacos, and delicious beer and cocktails. 11:30 a.m. to park close.

The Seven Seas Food Festival is also continuing weekends through May 9th. Park reservations are required to visit.


photo credit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


Busch Gardens will be celebrating Sesame Street Kids' Weekends. Join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and all of your favorite Sesame Street friends for fun-filled weekends May 1 - 23


You’re invited to a celebration of friendship and fun at Busch Gardens! Created especially for the youngest members of the family, kids and parents alike can join in the springtime fun at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street® Safari of Fun Kids’ Weekends, including an all-NEW weekend celebrating everyday heroes. Families can enjoy spring-inspired crafts, a springtime maze, dance parties and special visits with Busch Gardens animal ambassadors.


Reservations are required to visit the park.

Cruise News


Disney Cruise Line


Disney Cruise Line has announced that they will be making the grand reveal of the Disney Wish will be April 29, 2021. They have let us in on a first look at the dazzling design concept they’ve just unveiled for this incredible ship. The design of the Disney Wish centers around a motif that we’re all familiar with because it’s found at the heart of so many beloved Disney stories… Enchantment!


Enchantment is the special ingredient that brings the worlds of Disney films to such rich and vibrant life. Translating this concept into a design theme provides Walt Disney Imagineers with an unparalleled platform to infuse Disney storytelling into the cruise experience, giving the Disney Wish a completely new look unlike anything at sea!


How this motif is expressed throughout the design will be as much a reflection of the ship’s distinctive personality as of the wide range of stories that will be represented on board, from Disney and Pixar to Marvel and Star Wars. (Spoiler alert!)

photo credit: Disney Destinations


An Enchanted Ship Designed with Character


The Disney Wish will continue the Disney Cruise Line tradition of incorporating an elegant, classical exterior design — a tribute to the golden age of cruising — in the emblematic colors of Mickey Mouse.


A hallmark of Disney Cruise Line is the adornment of two character art pieces on the hull of each ship. For the Disney Wish, elegant filigree artwork on the bow — an intricate scrollwork pattern reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s — will feature Captain Minnie Mouse for the first time, solidifying her pioneering place at the forefront of the fleet’s future.


The stern of the Disney Wish will boast a custom sculpture of the optimistic and adventurous Rapunzel. Suspended by her golden tresses, this artistic Disney Princess will appear to be “decorating” the exterior of the ship with her trusty paintbrush and the help of her chameleon pal, Pascal.


To take it one step further into enchantment, Imagineers even added a whimsical curvature to the deck edge along both sides of the Disney Wish, which will create a sense of magic and visual movement both inside and out.


The Grand Hall – Our Castle on the Seas


The spellbinding Grand Hall — a bright, airy and elegant space that will welcome Guests as they first step on board — is the truest embodiment of the enchantment motif. Its fairytale castle-inspired design is touched with Gothic, Baroque and French Rococo influences that will give life to the columns, carvings, trimmings and adornments.


The Grand Hall is Disney Cruise Line’s castle on the seas, an enchanted realm where glittering trails of pixie dust climb majestic three-story columns, spill across the ceiling and animate the shimmering chandelier above with an effusive burst of magic. The chandelier is the manifestation of wishes come true – a swirling spiral of crystal gems punctuated with light, its crown jewel a wondrous wishing star.


At the base of a grand staircase, beneath the glow of the wishing star, will stand the personification of wish fulfillment herself: Cinderella. A pillar of The Walt Disney Company’s legacy, Cinderella’s story is the epitome of magic transforming wishes into dreams and dreams into reality. The beautiful bronze statue of this beloved princess is just one of many tributes to her story in the Grand Hall’s design – others include railings that glisten with elegant stained glass in her signature colors, rich carpeting embellished with icons from the film, and sophisticated nods to her carriage and glass slipper in the delicate metalwork and light fixtures.


The Grand Hall will be the enchanted gateway to everything that awaits on board the Disney Wish: fairytale worlds, heroic challenges, epicurean indulgences, thrilling adventures, galactic encounters, peaceful escapes and so much more.


All of this sounds pretty enchanting, wouldn’t you say? We can’t wait to find out more about how enchantment will manifest itself in other parts of the ship. In the next week, there will be an exciting reveal of the new spaces and experiences coming to the Disney Wish!


Disney Cruise Line has added a section on their website for their "Top Things You Need to Know" for guests on upcoming sailings of the new Disney Magic at Sea staycation cruises from the UK.

  • COVID-19 Vaccination: In order to sail, guests 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS currently defines “fully vaccinated” as 7 days after the final dose. Disney Cruise Line will contact guests prior to sailing with instructions on how to show proof of this vaccination status.

  • COVID-19 Testing:

  • Pre-Trip COVID-19 Testing: Guests under 18 years of age are not required to be vaccinated, but must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the date you set sail. Disney Cruise Line has secured a special discounted rate through a third-party vendor for PCR tests and will contact guests prior to sailing with instructions on how to complete and submit their test results. Guests may obtain their PCR test from the third-party vendor or any qualified testing supplier.

  • Embarkation COVID-19 Testing: All Guests, including those who have been vaccinated, are required to undergo an antigen COVID-19 rapid test administered by a third party in the terminal prior to boarding. Anyone testing positive will undergo a second test to verify the results. All tests administered at the terminal will be at the expense of Disney Cruise Line. Guests with positive COVID-19 test results, as well as those in their travel party, will be denied boarding.

  • Health Screenings - Multiple health screenings will be conducted before and during your cruise to promote the health and safety of everyone on board.

  • Before leaving home, be sure to check the temperatures of everyone in your party, including yourself

  • Everyone arriving at the terminal will have their temperature checked. guests with a temperature higher than 38°C are not permitted to board, nor are any guests in their travel party.

  • During your cruise, daily temperature checks are required aboard the ship for all Guests and Crew.

  • Embarkation Day Health Questionnaire: Guests are required to complete a health questionnaire related to COVID-19 and gastrointestinal illnesses on Embarkation Day.

  • Daily Health Questionnaire: Guests are required to complete a daily health questionnaire via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app on behalf of every Guest in their stateroom.

  • Crew Members: All Crew Members will be screened for symptoms of illness before every shift and have their temperatures checked twice daily.

  • Physical Distancing

  • Guest capacity aboard their ships is being reduced and adjusting experiences to allow for physical distancing measures in the terminals and areas of the ships such as upper decks, dining rooms, food and beverage locations, lounges, theaters, walkways, elevators, pools, queues and other common spaces.

  • Signage throughout the ship reminds guests and crew to practice physical distancing. Physical barriers have also been installed in areas where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain, like at check-in and Guest Services.

  • Complimentary experiences, such as theatrical shows, must be booked in advance. Close-up interactions with Disney Characters have been paused, and youth activities are experienced in small group settings.

  • Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 11 and up) and Crew Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining, swimming or in your stateroom.

  • You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking an outdoor photo, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time.

  • It is recommended that children ages 3 to 10 wear a face covering at all times except in designated locations.






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