The House of Representatives unanimously signed the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act bill, which will give large cruise ships a waiver from the Passenger Vessel Services Act. The bill will just need to be signed by the President.
The restart of cruising from US ports is still pending approvals from the CDC to lift their ban on large cruise ship sailings from US ports.
CDC has updated some of their rules for cruise passengers.
Cruise lines will be expected to look for symptoms or signs of Covid-19 in passengers and screen for close contact to someone with Covid-19 in the previous 14 days.
Vaccinated passengers with signs or symptoms may still go on the cruise, at the cruise line's discretion.
Nonvaccinated passengers may be denied boarding without documentation of recovery.
Passengers who have had close contact with someone in the past 14 days may be denied boarding.
Fully vaccinated passengers will not need to be tested to sail.
Nonvaccinated passengers will need to have an antigen test on the first day of their cruise. If the cruise is longer than four nights, then there will need to be another antigen test to disembark.
Princess Cruises, Holland America, and Carnival Cruise Line are preparing their return to service this summer to sail from Seattle to Alaska. They plan to resume to a partial season in Alaska with one ship for each brand sailing round trip. All passengers will be expected to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to sailing, and all crew will also be vaccinated. Proof of guest vaccination is required.
Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam is planning to restart cruising July 24, 2021 through October 2, 2021. Princess Cruises lines plans to start July 25, 2021 through September 26, 2021 with their Majestic Princess. Carnival Cruise Lines plans to restart their season on July 27, 2021 through September 14, 2021 on the Carnival Miracle.
All plans to restart cruising is pending approval of the CDC.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian is also planning to join the Alaskan sailings. They are beginning with the Norwegian Bliss restarting to sail in August for a 7 day itinerary to visit the Dawes Glacier, Juneau, and Ketchikan among other ports.
Norwegian Bliss, photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Line
AmaWaterways has announced they will be beginning their Summer European River cruises on July 3, 2021. The planned river cruise sailing schedule is as follows:
• July 3rd, AmaDouro will begin sailings through Portugal
• July 21st, AmaMagna will begin sailings on the Danube River
• July 22nd, AmaKristina will begin sailings in France on the Rhône River
• July 22nd, AmaLyra will begin sailings in France on the Seine River
• July 27th, AmaVida will begin sailings in Portugal and Spain
• July 29th, AmaDolce will begin sailings through Bordeaux, France
• July 29th, AmaSiena will begin sailings on the Rhine River
Any itinerary not listed above and scheduled to embark in July, 2021 has been suspended and guests will be automatically issued a Future Cruise Credit equal to 115% of the value of the funds received for all purchased services through AmaWaterways (i.e. cruise, hotel/land, air, etc.). Future Cruise Credits should be redeemed on the sailings mentioned above or on any other sailing departing before December 2023. The additional 15% value of the Future Cruise Credit may be used to upgrade your flight experience or stateroom accommodations or to add a land package to your new sailing.
Viking River Cruises
Viking® announced that it will restart its European river operations in July 2021 with select itineraries in Portugal, France and along the Rhine River. Offered exclusively for vaccinated guests as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, the first five European river itineraries now available in July are among the company’s most popular: Rhine Getaway (8 days; Amsterdam to Basel), Portugal’s River of Gold (10 days; Lisbon to Porto), Paris & the Heart of Normandy (8 days; Paris roundtrip), Lyon & Provence (8 days; Avignon to Lyon) and France’s Finest, a 15-day journey that combines the northern and southern France itineraries in one seamless experience.
Celebrity Cruises will sail a program of seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Seattle on the beautifully appointed Celebrity Summit® beginning on July 23, 2021. All sailings will depart with vaccinated crew and everyone over the age of 16 must be vaccinated, and as of August 1, 2021, all US guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.
Celebrity Cruises will be suspending several Summer 2021 sailings aboard Celebrity Eclipse®, Celebrity Solstice® and Celebrity Summit®.
They released new protocols that passengers can expect for its summer cruises sailing from St. Maarten and Greece:
Celebrity Cruises will require all guests, 16 years of age or older, to be fully vaccinated to at least 14 days prior to boarding their ships. Proof of vaccination will be required.
Vaccinated passengers will be able to spend their time in ports as they wish and not have to be restricted to cruise line excursions only. This is subject to the protocols of the port.
Vaccinated passengers will not be required to wear masks indoors or outdoors on the cruise ships. Protocols for wearing masks in the ports may be different. Passengers will be still expected to social distance from other passengers. Children aged 15 years or younger will have to wear masks walking from a stateroom or to a restaurant.
If guests would like to do back to back cruises, they will need to take an antigen before the second cruise. Nonvaccinated passengers will need to have a second PCR test.
Celebrity will provide tests for citizens to return to the US as required.
Royal Caribbean® returns to Alaska with two fan favorites sailing from Seattle. Adventures on Serenade of the Seas® begin July 19, 2021 from her new homeport of Seattle, and the biggest ship in the region, Ovation of the Seas®, returns August 13, 2021.
All crew members and vacationers 16 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and everyone 12 or older must be fully vaccinated after August 1, 2021. Children underage will receive a test prior to sailing.
To ensure full preparedness, the tough decision has been made to cancel the following sailings:
Radiance of the Seas from July 2 - September 24, 2021
Serenade of the Seas from July 4 & 11, 2021
Ovation of the Seas from July 2 - August 6, 2021
In preparation of a return of sailings from the US, Royal Caribbean International has decided to cancel the Vision of the Seas itineraries from Bermuda. It is still expecting to continue with the plans for the Adventure of the Seas to depart from the Bahamas beginning in June.
Serenade of the Seas, photo credit: Royal Caribbean International
The MSC Virtuosa is now the first ship to depart from the port of Southampton in the United Kingdom since the shutdown for Covid. She is joining two other ships which are cruising in the Mediterranean, the MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside.
MSC Cruises is preparing to start five more ships in the Mediterranean and in Northern Europe, and they are waiting for approvals to start sailing in the Caribbean from the US.
Theme Park News
Walt Disney World
The Disney Skyliner will be temporarily closed for refurbishment from Sunday, January 23 through Thursday, January 28, 2022. The Skyliner line between EPCOT International Gateway, Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be closed. During this time, Disney bus transportation will be provided for guests to EPCOT. FriendShip boat service is also available for EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.
Due to enhanced health and safety measures that have been implemented at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, there are some temporary changes to the Walt Disney Travel Company Magical Extras and Walt Disney Travel Company Basic Packages. Previously, a voucher to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was included but it is unavailable at this time. Guests can use their ESPN Voucher at one of the miniature golf locations. Guests are welcome to redeem each ESPN Voucher for one 18-hole round of miniature golf on one day for one guest at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.
The Disneyland Hotel will be reopening on July 2, 2021, with limited capacity. This will complete the reopening of the Disneyland Resort hotels. Initially, just the Fantasy Tower will open in July.
While the resort was closed, guest rooms, lobbies, and meeting rooms were updated with upholstery and fabrics. Now the guest rooms will feature a fun new fireworks pattern in the carpet and upgraded platform beds to help maximize storage. The corridor flooring features new patterns inspired by the art of Mary Blair with graphic elements recalling the park lands each of the towers are named for.
SeaWorld Orlando is featuring their Electric Ocean event on select nights May 28 through September 6, 2021. When the sun goes down, the night comes to life! Stay late all summer and immerse yourself in a family-friendly dance party beneath the waves. Then end the night with Ignite, a fireworks and fountains spectacular which brings the brilliance of the sea to the sky above.
At Club Sea Glow, there will be a DJ at Bayside Stadium to mix dance music all evening leading up to the start of the fireworks finale.
The new Electric Current at The Waterfront will feature a DJ hosting a dance party beneath the waves for all ages.
Rescue Tails is a new educational presentation that teaches you about SeaWorld’s commitment to animal care and rescue.
Elmo Rocks will feature Elmo and his friends saving the day by forming their own rock 'n’ roll band after their favorite band cancels its concert appearance!
To end the evening, Ignite Fireworks is a fireworks and fountains spectacular that will bring the brilliant colors of the sea to the skies above the park.
Electric Ocean events are included with park admission. All guests with existing tickets, Fun Cards, or Annual Passes must make a park reservation to visit.
In the World News
The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that the land borders between the US and Canada and Mexico will remain closed through June 21, 2021. The borders are closed to all nonessential travel.
A plan is in process of seeking approval to allow vaccinated travelers from the United States to enter European countries. Approved vaccines include Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and those receiving these vaccines would not need to test or quarantine upon entry. Nonvaccinated travelers would need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the EU.
Italy is the first to announce it will be allowing travelers from the U.S. to enter the country via flights that have been Covid-19 tested. All passengers, whether vaccinated or not, must have a negative Covid PCR test before the flight then again when they arrive.
Dreams® Playa Bonita Panama has re-opened their doors and welcomed their first guests back as of Saturday, May 15, 2021. This marks the final re-opening of an AMResorts® branded property following the temporary closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located on Playa Bonita, the closest beach to Panama City and meaning “beautiful beach,” Dreams Playa Bonita Panama is located 40 minutes from the international airport, 30 minutes from the Panama Canal and 20 minutes from the city center. This resort is surrounded by Punta Bruja Natura Reserve along two kilometers of golden sand beach on the Pacific Coast of Panama, facing the ocean and offering stunning sunrise views.
Dreams® Playa Bonita Panama, photo credit: AMResort
The Clark County COVID-19 mitigation plan will expire June 1, 2021 allowing for the return of pre-pandemic guidelines that lift restrictions involving capacity limits, large gatherings and more.
The new CDC guidance on masks recommends that those who are not vaccinated continue wearing masks and following social distancing and other precautions until fully vaccinated. The guidance allows fully vaccinated people to stop wearing face coverings in crowds and in many indoor locations
Additionally, masks still must be worn in hospitals and healthcare facilities and on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
Club Med has updated their safety protocols to follow the European Union’s reopening guidelines. Beginning June 9th, guests (age 11 and older) visiting PUNTA CANA, CANCÚN, AND MICHÈS PLAYA ESMERALDA will be required upon arrival to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR/Antigen test taken within 72 hours, prior to arrival.
Should guests be unable to provide either requirement, the resort team will administer an onsite Antigen test at no additional cost.
Club Med Cancun Yucatan, photo credit: Club Med
Club Med will be reopening more of their resorts in the coming months:
Club Med Caravelle in Guadeloupe on June 12, 2021
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda in the Dominican Republic on June 19 , 2021
Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek in Martinique on July 3, 2021
Be sure to check back every Monday for the Travel News of the Week Blog. If you don't have time to read it, then you can listen in to the Travel News of the Week Podcast on http://www.msttwpodcast.com.