Travel News of the Week


Theme Park News


Walt Disney World


The Disney After Hours Boo Bash will be held this fall in the Magic Kingdom on select nights from August 10th through October 31st. The announcement came as part of their "Halfway 2 Halloween" campaign. The event will be from 9pm to midnight, and it will be a separately ticketed event. Party goers may enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 7pm without having a day theme park ticket or Disney Park Pass theme park reservation. Some events night in August and September will be from 9:30pm to 12:30am.


Guests of all ages are invited to dress in their favorite costumes and enjoy trick or treating in the park. Costume masks are not permitted for adults. They may only be worn by children 14 years of age or younger. Guests will still be required to wear facial coverings.


Spooky festivities will include Halloween-themed cavalcades, character sightings throughout the park, special performances by the Cadaver Dans, décor, lighting, music, treat stops with plenty of candy and so much more!


Tickets will go on sale next month, with an early purchase window available to guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Stay tuned for more details to come. They will share additional information about “Disney After Hours BOO BASH” as it becomes available, so keep checking for more tricks and treats.


Villains Character Cavalcade from 2020

There was another refurbishment announcement for Disney's Contemporary Resort. The Wave… of American Flavors & The Wave Lounge will be unavailable this summer as they refurbish this space in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. Reservations will be available through July 15, 2021.


At Chef Mickey's in Disney's Contemporary Resort, guests can once again meet the "Fab Five" during an all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner starting May 16th. Guests may see and take a picture of the characters while remaining socially distanced, and they will be able to take home a special souvenir with the characters' signatures on it.


The Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort will be reopening on May 18th. Guests may enjoy breakfast and dinner, but there will not be character appearances featured at this time.


Reservations are open for guests to book for both Chef Mickey's and Cape May Café.


The Tusker House Restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom will be reopening this summer, however an exact date has not been given. It will feature a modified character experience and family-style entrees. Guests will be able to take pictures of Donald and his friends wearing their safari best. More details will be announced.


Epcot has opened a new sweet spot in the Italy Pavilion. Gelateria Toscana will be serving assorted gelati flavors, sorbetti, and gelati floats. Along with gelati sundaes and some Italian dessert favorites.


The Festival of the Lion King has soft reopened in Disney's Animal Kingdom as the "A Celebration of The Festival of the Lion King." The show is not the same as before closing due to Covid-19, and it is now a modified rendition. There are some choreography changes as well as changes to how the audience is seated to allow for social distancing. Seating is limited, and travel parties must enter together to see the show together. Audience benches allow for four people to sit together so larger groups will be split up, and guests are seated every other row.

Another long awaited announcement was made by the Walt Disney World Resort. "Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will take Guests to a galaxy far, far away for an all-immersive, two-night vacation experience that goes beyond anything Disney has ever created before."


The adventure will begin in 2022 with guests entering the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser terminal to gather with other "passengers" for their intergalactic destination. Travelers will be able to watch their space travel through viewports to see their approach to the Halcyon Starcruiser for their two nights stay.


As guests step through the Launch Pod airlock door, they will take their first step into a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser comes to life all around them. During their stay, they can interact with familiar and new characters, and they may even meet the Starcruiser’s "strong and charismatic captain, a plucky ship’s mechanic and a galactic superstar."


Guests may enjoy their meals in the Crown of Corellia Dining Room, where they may be entertained by the resident singing sensation. Breakfast and lunch will offer a bright and welcoming hall, and then each evening for dinner, there will be a multi-course menu of "both otherworldly and familiar origins."


While visiting, guests may train in the ancient ways of the lightsaber, learn about the inner workings of the Halcyon, and journey to Batuu to continue their adventure. "This isn’t storytelling – it’s storyliving, where Guests will see, feel and live Star Wars in a whole new way."


For a limited time, guests visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios may see a model of the Halcyon Starcruiser inside Walt Disney Presents.

photo credit: Disney Destinations


Disneyland Resort


The Disneyland Resort is continuing their phased re-opening of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel will reopen starting June 15, 2021 with limited capacity. The Hotel celebrates California's beachfront heritage with seaside themed rooms. Reservations are open to begin planning a magical visit.


As part of a phased reopening, Disney's Paradise Pier will not have food or beverage items available initially, however guests may visit Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for dining options. Select restaurants in the Downtown Disney District also provide delivery services. For an added convenience, guests of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa can scan QR codes right from their in-room TV to access the links to those restaurants’ delivery webpages and order food and beverages that can be delivered right to the hotel lobbies.


At Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Napa Rose and Storyteller's Cafe will be welcoming guests once again as of May 28, 2021. Storyteller's Cafe will not be offering character dining at this time. Also on May 28th, guests of the Hotel may begin using the dedicated entrance into Disney California Adventure.


The Disneyland Hotel will be reopening at a later date.



Knotts Berry Farm


If you live in California, be sure to check out the reopening of Knotts Berry Farm on May 21, 2021. The Knotts Family will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary during a summer-long tribute, from May 21st through September 6th. There will be special park decor, themed food offerings, unique entertainment, exclusive merchandise, and even some surprises.


Park Reservations are required for entry with valid theme park tickets. Until further notice, attendance is limited to party sizes that will not contain more than 3 households and are California residents only, per state guidelines. Proof of residency may be required upon entrance.




SeaWorld Orlando


SeaWorld Orlando will be hosting Viva La Música on Saturdays and Sundays from May 15 through May 23, 2021. Experience all the color and culture in a new way as this festive, family-friendly Latin celebration returns. Guests can enjoy street performers, DJs, live bands, kids' crafts, and Dance Class with Rosita. There will be special event foods and beverages, as well as event merchandise to purchase.


Viva la Música is included with park admission, and theme park reservations are required.


Cruise News


Disney Cruise Line


In honor of May the 4th (be with you), Disney Cruise Line has released another detail about the much anticipated Disney Wish, sailing next summer. Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge will be only for adults to enjoy. Every evening, this high-end bar will host interactive tasting experiences and signature beverages.


The Lounge will reflect a lavish star cruiser with its sleek design and metallic detailing. The panoramic viewport will make the guest believe they are being transported to worlds far away such as Batuu, Tatooine, Mustafar, and Coruscant. There will be a "holotube" to show guests models of nearby ships and surround-sound to really make guests feel they are in the middle of the story.


photo credit: Disney Destinations

MSC Cruises


MSC Cruises announced further details of the new dining experience on board the Company’s upcoming flagship, MSC Seashore, set to come into service on July 31, 2021. With 18 bars and lounges, including 12 indoor and six outdoor venues, five specialty restaurants and four main dining restaurants - a gastronomic adventure with globally inspired menus awaits guests this summer. Whether guests prefer, casual or more formal dining, or are looking for a steakhouse, fresh seafood, Mediterranean cuisine or sushi, each restaurant and bar experience will please even the most discerning palates.


Similar to its sister ships, the MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, MSC Seashore has a stunning exterior. It has been designed with more outdoor space to bring guests closer to the sea and an aft that mirrors the iconic beach condo design that the Seaside class is known for.


MSC Seashore will also be equipped with cutting-edge technology becoming the first cruise ship in the world to feature a new air sanitation system, ‘Safe Air’, which uses UV-C lamp technology to eliminate viruses and bacteria to guarantee clean and safe air for guests and crew.


MSC Seashore debuts November 2021 in Miami featuring cruises to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises exclusive private island destination in The Bahamas.


Holland America Line


Working in close coordination with the government of Greece, Holland America Line has received approval to restart cruising from Piraeus (Athens) starting August 15, 2021 with four departures aboard Eurodam. Due to some uncertainty regarding the timing of other European approvals, as well as deployment changes, they have made the difficult decision to cancel additional 2021 Europe departures, including Volendam departures July 1 through July 25, 2021 and Westerdam departures July 1 through August 31, 2021.


“Everyone at Holland America Line has been preparing for our return to service, and we are grateful to the government of Greece for allowing us to show that we can safely operate our cruises,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “The beautiful islands of Greece have been a highlight of our Mediterranean itineraries for decades, and we are honored to be able to restart out of Athens and give our guests a memorable vacation after all this time without cruise travel.”


Holland America Line cruises from Greece are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination.


Seabourn


Seabourn will be resuming sailing this summer from the Caribbean. The Seabourn Odyssey will be sailing from Bridgetown, Barbados starting on July 18th, and it will be visiting south Caribbean ports such as St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Kitts. Guests may enjoy 7 and 14 day voyages around the islands.


Seabourn will also be restarting in Greece beginning on July 3rd. The Seabourn Ovation will offer 7 and 14 day sailings as well visiting ports such as Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, and Limassol.


Passengers will need to be fully vaccinated to join either cruise.


Carnival Cruise Line


As they wait for additional information from the CDC, Carnival Cruise Line is offering guests booked for August 2021 more flexibility. Final payments due in May have been extended until May 31st. If a guest chooses to cancel by May 31st, they may receive a full refund of monies paid. Guests booked with a refundable fare with final payment due after May 31, have until that date to cancel for refund.

The 17-day voyage on the Carnival Freedom sailing on September 22, 2021 has been cancelled. Impacted guests have been contacted and offered a Future Cruise Credit or a full refund.


Carnival Freedom, photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line


In the World News


Barbados


Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados will be reopening on May 14th. Adults may enjoy a Caribbean dream vacation in these all-inclusive resorts in the St. Lawrence Gap area of Barbados. With world class international cuisine, luxurious suites with stunning ocean views, a rooftop bar and pool, and butler elite services, guests will be spirited away from the day to day stress and be immersed in these relaxing retreats.



Sandal Royal Barbados, photo credit: Sandals Resorts International


Mexico


AMResorts® has announced the newest Breathless® branded property, Breathless® Cancun Soul Resort & Spa, which is scheduled to open December 21, 2021. It is located between the Caribbean and the Nichupte Lagoon. Inspired by chic, artistic décor and located along the Cancun strip in the Hotel Zone, this beachfront resort will be the soul of Cancun featuring 429 suites, including the xhale club and the Breathless brand signature Unlimited-Luxury® vacation concept.


This unparalleled, all-suite, beachfront resort overlooking stunning white sands and turquoise waters will offer a variety of luxurious amenities and services including:

  • Three stunning pools, including the Energy pool, perfect for a balance of relaxing and socializing, and two rooftop pools featuring unmatched ocean and sunset views – the exclusive xhale club infinity pool overlooking the Cancun skyline, and the upbeat infinity xcelerate pool

  • Two connecting towers, each with a unique vibe and personality and rooftop areas

  • Nearly half the suites feature ocean front views

  • xhale club offering:

  • Suites featuring ocean front views and whirlpools on balconies

  • Access to a private lounge

  • Dedicated rooftop area with infinity pool and bar

  • Upgraded amenities and more

  • Indoor and outdoor areas on property where guests may enjoy bars, gourmet restaurants and shops offering ideal social gathering places to meet & mingle

  • Ten trendy gourmet dining options, including six à la carte restaurants (one located on the rooftop), one buffet, two grills by the Energy pool, and a coffee shop

  • State-of-the-art After Dark sports bar and nightclub, exclusive champagne bar, two open-air whirlpools, a fire pit plaza for up to 35 people, and a pet playground

  • Cutting edge fitness center with ocean and pool views, personal trainers, and a relaxing private yoga room

  • Two-story, ultra-luxury spa designed with indoor and outdoor areas, multiple treatment cabins, a hydrotherapy circuit with a juice bar and a unique spa party private suite for small groups

  • Over 9,000 sq. ft. of meetings and function space, including a ballroom that can be divided into four sections with an integrated theater, three breakout rooms, and an executive VIP conference room

Breathless Cancun Soul Resort & Spa will also feature the standard CleanComplete Verification™ protocols on property. This 360-degree quality, safety and hygiene program takes into account every aspect of the on-property experience, backed by the highest-level third-party certification.


Belize


Belize is welcoming vaccinated travelers to visit if they present a vaccination card dated two or more weeks prior to arrival, and they will not need to have a negative Covid test.


Non-vaccinated travelers still need to provide a negative Covid PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival.


Belize has also received the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the first global safety and hygiene stamp for the tourism industry.


Dominican Republic


Marriot International will be opening a new hotel in the Dominican Republic in August. The AC Hotel Punta Cana will have 129 rooms, and will feature the AC Lounge and AC Kitchen for dining. Guests will be able to enjoy a pool, fitness center, as well as free WIFI.


All of the fully-equipped rooms feature an elegant design and comfort for both leisure and business travelers. They include a free mini-bar, full bathroom suites, and plasma TV's with video on demand.



photo credit: Marriot International, Inc.

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